We went to Toronto this past weekend. Nice drive up Thursday during the day for all but poor Rion who gets car-sick. He was sick a bunch of times between here and Kingston, and then settled down until somewhere on Brock Street in Pickering. Poor pooch. Thursday evening we went (sans le pooch) to the opening for Apertura, a roaming art gallery started by four Bay St. female lawyers (we used to work with two of them). It was a great show! And packed! It was also kinda fun to run into a bunch of people we used to work with - hi Heather! hi Lindsay! hi Francis! hi Sarah! hi Patti!
After the show, much excitement as first Randal & I took the Queen streetcar to Bathurst and then the Bathurst streetcar to Bloor (Randal had never taken the Toronto streetcars before). We were headed, of course, for Insomnia, our fave martini bar. We originally had planned to head out for sushi (of course!) but decided to do Insomnia instead. Well. Were we in for a treat. I ordered my usual - chicken and brie and avocado sandwich with french fries and aioli, and Randal went for a salad and steak. Mmmmm, good. A martini each. Then as we are sipping our second martinis of the night, we suddenly notice a guy setting up what seems to be a sushi boat at the table next to us. Sushi at Insomnia??? Not able to contain our curiosity any longer, we ask the guy what he's doing. Apparently they are having a Sapporo beer sampler night and he has been hired from his restaurant to serve sushi to the Insomnia patrons. At this point, two svelte (and not very Japanese) women offer us some Sapporo to taste. I am known for not being able to keep my mouth shut when appropriate, so I advise that we drink Sapporo at home all the time (we do!), but sure, I'd love to try a glass. Randal has to drive later, alas. Then the sushi guy (David) gives us a lovely plate of spicy salmon maki. Later he gave us a second plate of tuna maki. It was soooo good. We chatted with him a bit - told him we were going to Japan, etc. He gave us the card to his restaurant, Akasaka, which is in Richmond Hill. Satisfied, sushified, we headed home for the night around midnight.
Friday, we played it easy, sleeping in and then just doing some shopping in the neighbourhood. My mom wanted to go to Toys 'R' Us, so we did, and then Randal & I went to Indigo (to pick up a birthday present for my mom*) and then to the Promenade Mall to check out the Japanese dish store and the Asian grocery store, which we hadn't had much time to visit the last time we'd been home. Bought some different varieties of noodles, some fruit juices, and some mochi, Japanese red bean cakes.
We got home around 6:45, just in time to get changed and go out to eat for my mom's birthday at Akasaka! It was less than a 15-minute drive from my parents' place. My brother Robert and his girlfriend Judy joined us too. And we ate and ate. Robert & Judy and my parents both split dinners for two - salad and miso soup followed by some sushi and maki, then a large salmon appetizer, then a plateful of any two of: beef teriyaki, chicken teriyaki, or shrimp and veggie tempura, with cold udon noodles, and the whole topped off by dessert (ice cream or mango mousse or green tea crème brulée). Randal & I had a TRUCKLOAD of sushi. We had a Rainbow Roll (which included butterfish which is not usual), some kind of crunchy Dynamite Roll which was so good we ordered a second set, mixed selection of sashimi, mixed selection of nigiri, and California Rolls (the only mediocre part of the meal). Plus dessert! If you are ever in the Richmond Hill area, I highly recommend it. They also do teppanyaki there (where everyone sits in a square facing the chef who cooks right in front of you).
Oh yes, chocolate birthday cake Friday night once we found a tiny bit of space in our poor overloaded stomaches. :)
Saturday got off to a bang - Randal and I got up early for once and went downtown for about 11:00 (that's early for us!). We spent the entire day downtown. We shopped our way across Bloor from University and then all the way down Yonge to Queen. I can't remember everything we bought but it was a lot. Mostly things for traveling (no point in buying anything else): two mini address books, extra toothbrushes (2 for $1 at the Dollarama at Bay & Charles - woo-ee!), mini flashlight for me, some CDs for Randal, LOTS of chocolate ostensibly for the road trip back to Ottawa but really just to get us through the dark packing days ahead in our future, etc. Oh, and Randal bought a pair of sandals, and I bought 3 pairs of shoes! (Dressy sandals, walking sandals, and a cute little pair of men's brown sneakers - let's just say I was sitting in Payless too long while Randal debated over his shoe purchases: he almost bought 4 pairs in Payless alone!) Dinner downtown and then we hit a secondhand bookstore where I purchased two more books - Lost Japan by Alex Kerr and Lonely Planet's guide to Kyoto. (Wishful thinking on my part I'm sure - but it was cheap and I figured I'd use it even if *gasp* I never make it back to Kyoto ever again.) Then we dragged ourselves home again.
Sunday we planned on leaving first thing in the morning for Ottawa so as to have time to shop (with a car!) Sunday afternoon, but after watching a movie Saturday night (Monsters, Inc., which I had seen but Randal had not) and only getting a so-so night's sleep, we decided to take our time Sunday and only ended up leaving Thornhill at about 12:30. Nice drive back - Rion was only sick 3 times between Thornhill and Oshawa (about an hour's drive) and then he slept most of the rest of the way.
And that was my weekend. Nothing interesting has happened since, and probably nothing much interesting will happen ever again. But if anything does, I'll be sure to let you all know!
* Digital Photography for Dummies. I can post the title since she of course opened her presents Friday night (forgot to mention that at the same time as the chocolate cake). She has recently gotten herself a digital camera (which she can use underwater too, oooooh, and I had just found out on Thursday that my dad was planning to give her Adobe Photoshop for her b-day (there's a chapter on the program in the book), so it was perfect! My mom is also the weird kind of person who will read a book like that from cover to cover. Really, she should have been a librarian.